Aretha Franklin Remembers MLK

Aretha Franklin Remembers MLK

As we near the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the Queen of Soul reminisces about touring the South with her mentor

Brooke Obie

by Brooke Obie, August 20, 2013

Aretha Franklin Remembers MLK

Aretha Franklin

[my dad] likes to have some salt pork and rice and biscuits in the morning. I’ve got some sausage, sometimes he likes sausage or just plain bacon,” and so on. Now she couldn’t pronounce the word “sausage” very well, she called it soy-chage. And said, “We have some bacon, some ham and some soy-chage.” [Laughs] And so, to show you what a gracious man he was, he said, “Well Katherine, I think I’ll have some rice, some biscuits and some of that soy-chage.” [Laughs] I love soy-chage, too, how about you?

EBONY: [Laughs] Absolutely, I do! You have had such a great impact, not just on music and having 18 Grammy’s but being the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement. There have been so many things you have done. How would you describe what your legacy is?

AF: Well, I don’t know. Hopefully the music has been uplifting and supporting. A spiritual stronghold for people who need that and people who don’t know anything about the church and the Lord. I’m very appreciative of all of the awards I’ve been given. People don’t have to give you anything, so I absolutely appreciate that. Hopefully I have presented myself on a level that any young lady would be delighted to follow.

EBONY: Well you’ve definitely done that. You’ve been such an inspiration to so many generations of women. So let’s talk about your sons. What do you hope for them?

AF: My two sons have signed with Aretha’s Records. My grandson, Jordan, has signed with Aretha’s Records as well. He’s a natural. He’s a great writer and an excellent young producer. And my son Kecalf, is Christian/Hip-Hop. And he loves Lecrae a lot; they just had a cover on TIME Magazine, I think. And I’m delighted because they brought the genre that he’s coming in on. People didn’t know a lot about Christian Hip-Hop so they are pioneers. I’m hoping Kecalf will have great success in that field.

EBONY: Speaking of TIME, you were the first Black woman to be featured on the cover of that magazine. What do you remember about that experience? What was it like for you?

AF: That was tremendous, absolutely tremendous. I was certainly aware of the magnitude of the magazine and I recall the day that we did that [shoot]. We were watching JFK [funeral] service on TV, his internment. I remember watching that and thinking how sad and unfortunate it was.

EBONY: We’ve been hearing about your biopic for a few years now and you’ve mentioned that Karen Clark Sheard would be involved. Is there any progress on that production and who you’d like to star in it?

AF:  Karen would be playing Kitty Parham, one of the lead singers of the world-famous Clara Ward Singers. Who will play me? I’m not sure yet, but [I will say] there are three finalists.

Brooke Obie writes "The Spiritual Life" column every Tuesday on EBONY.com and the award-winning blog DistrictDiva.com. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeObie​.

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